Florida's Battle Over School Vouchers Continues

The Florida Supreme Court ruled the program unconstitutional earlier this month. The ongoing battle over the controversial vouchers could define the governor’s last year in office.

Jeb Bush told a roomful of voucher supporters that he’s trying hard to save the program and preserve parents’ rights to pull their kids out of failing public schools.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, "That fundamental right needs to be imbedded in some place that can’t be overturned by a court ruling."

The clear implication is the governor’s leaning toward asking voters to amend the state constitution.

"Based on the ruling it might require a constitutional amendment but it also might in the interim require some legislative changes as well. It might require both," says Gov. Bush.

Sharon Ames-Dennard says Bush better make it happen. She runs a private school that accepts students in similar voucher programs. She expects lawmakers to do everything in their power to keep vouchers alive.

Sharon Ames-Dennard of the Sakkara Youth Institute says, "We voted these people in to service our needs, and if they’re not doing that I say we need to vote them out."

But many lawmakers are about done with the voucher drama. They say trying to do an end run around the supreme court is a waste of legislators’ time and taxpayers’ money.

Sen. Les Miller, (D) Tampa, says, "I think we need to just drop it and move on. Why go through this whole process of spending tax dollars again to try to do something that the Supreme Court has said is unconstitutional?"

But with the governor’s legacy on the line, voucher supporters say the fight isn’t even close to over yet. The Florida Supreme Court agreed to stay its ruling and allow the more than 700 opportunity scholarship students to at least finish out the current school year.


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